Trevor Pickard: A Life of Adventure and Travel

When he’s not working on his instrument rating at ATP’s Nashville facility, Trevor is training for his first Ironman competition, which he hopes to complete later this year.

pilot trevor pickard
When he’s not working on his instrument rating at ATP’s Nashville facility, Trevor Pickard is training for his first Ironman competition, which he hopes to complete later this year.Trevor Pickard

The rigors of an intensive, fast-paced flight training program are proving no match for 28-year-old Tennessee native Trevor Pickard. When he’s not working on his instrument rating, he’s training for his first Ironman competition, which he hopes to complete later this year. “Flying ties so many emotions together,” he says. “The sense of exploration, adventure and freedom, you can’t really get that from anything else. More than anything, it gives you a new perspective on this world. Being a real active person who loves traveling, this really ties in a lot of things for me.”

Pickard caught the flying bug as a child. His eighth-grade baseball coach was an aviation maintenance teacher at Middle Tennessee State University, where he would later graduate with a degree in flight dispatch and scheduling. He took an introductory flight during his freshman year and loved it, but at the time, pilot jobs weren’t paying as well as they are now, so he instead pursued a career as a dispatcher. For the next several years, he worked for various aviation-related companies nationwide, including an aerial-photography company in Florida. It was there that he met and became good friends with two pilots who persuaded him to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot.

“The close friends I came to know in the aerial-photography program, they were both graduates of ATP,” Pickard says. “Knowing their learning styles and mine as well, it was a good fit. It mimics how the airlines run.”

pilot trevor pickard
Trevor's eighth-grade baseball coach was an aviation maintenance teacher at Middle Tennessee State University, where he would later graduate with a degree in flight dispatch and scheduling.Trevor Pickard

Pickard says the greatest challenge of ATP’s program is also what he loves about it the most. “It is a fast-paced program. Avionics, navigation equipment, radios ... there’s only so much time. For me, it reinforces the importance of continuing to be present and learning, and then moving on. You’re continually learning that there’s nothing you can’t overcome or master. There’s always something new to learn.”

His goal is to earn his commercial multiengine, CFI and MEI certificates by the end of September. He’s looking forward to instructing because teaching others will reinforce the skills he’s already learned. After he completes the ATP program, Pickard says, he will consider instructing to build time but also explore other options, including aerial photography. “I’ll be pursuing the market for interesting and unique low-time pilot jobs,” he says.

pilot trevor pickard
Trevor's goal is to earn his commercial multiengine, CFI and MEI certificates by the end of September.Trevor Pickard

Where will the sky lead this adventurous, tenacious young pilot? Perhaps to the Alaskan bush, or to a remote part of the world where he can use his skills as a pilot to help people in need, he says. Pickard says he’d love to fly a Pilatus PC-12 because it’s “a small but very powerful, versatile and beautiful aircraft. I backpacked through Europe in college and saw a lot of them flying there.”

What advice would he give to someone considering a career as a pilot? “Take an intro flight to physically take control of the plane and experience it firsthand. It’s very contagious,” Pickard says. “As a CFI, giving demo flights will allow me to pay it forward, to help people understand where I was at that point.”